The Most Radical Tool Against Global Warming
Abortion is a global issue. A survey of The World’s Abortion Laws shows significant disagreement about it.
A few countries, like Egypt, prohibit it. Others, like Brazil, allow it only when the mother’s life is in danger. In the United States, laws vary from state to state. But the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision makes it difficult to restrict it significantly.
Advocates for abortion frequently argue for a woman’s right to choose. But some now, like Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, promote it to curtail global warming.
How would abortion do that?
The argument is that growing human population means more use of fossil fuels. That means more carbon dioxide emission. And that means a warmer planet.
So some abortion advocates argue that since abortion can help curb population growth, it can decrease carbon dioxide emissions.
Wide-Spread Calls for Curbing Population Growth
In 2009, Jonathon Porritt, chair of the U.K. government’s Sustainable Development Commission, said “curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming.”
Since then, the call for abortion as a way to curb global warming has become more common.
Two years ago, some pro-abortion campaigners argued that Pope Francis’s call for action on climate change was hypocritical. Why? Because he opposes abortion. But they believe it is critical to fighting global warming.
Ronald Lindsay, president and CEO of the secular Center for Inquiry, supported that view. He said the Pope had “preemptively argued against those who would use his encyclical (to fight climate change) to justify abortion.” He added, “the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control contributes to overpopulation, which is a significant contributing cause of climate change.”
Earlier this year, Greenpeace said, “abortion access is critical and necessary to our health and well-being of our environment.” It went on, “scientists have spoken about the dangers of environmental degradation and climate change. … By eliminating abortion access we remove a critical piece of health care necessary for the well-being of people and the planet.”
The Dartmouth, a college newspaper, ran an article May 5, 2019, saying restrictive abortion laws increase humans’ ecological footprint. “An increasing human population presents a serious threat to the planet’s future,” it said, “and without access to abortion, legislators are stealing women’s right to control their own personal ecological legacies.”
The Worldwatch Institute released a report by its President, Robert Engelman. He wrote, “Population is associated with sensitive issues like sexuality, contraception, abortion, migration, and religion.” He added, “But increasing women’s reproductive rights should be at the heart of the climate discussion, in the same basket as strategies like increasing energy efficiency and researching new technologies.”
So, they say, abortion can help prevent “climate doomsday.”
Would Curbing Population Growth Even Prevent Warming?
Many today fear global warming. Many also think of themselves as environmentalists. They care deeply about protecting the planet. But they must beware radical environmentalism. That tends to blame all environmental problems on human development.
Most people want to protect the earth, even as we develop its potential. They want to meet human needs and nature’s needs together. Radical environmentalists see people as a “cancer on the planet.” They promote nature’s interests above humanity’s.
For the moment, forget about valuing people less than other living things. Forget about the immorality of abortion. Will abortion really help prevent global warming? Or is the claim just another excuse to slaughter babies? Is it really just a continuation of the obsession with population control rooted in late 19th and early 20th century eugenics?
Curtailing population growth will not reduce global warming.
How do we know? By comparing carbon dioxide emissions and global temperature. For the last two decades, atmospheric carbon dioxide rose dramatically. But there was no comparable increase in the rate of global warming.
Suppose reducing carbon dioxide emissions could slow warming. Still, it would affect only warming caused by people. It would not affect warming from natural cycles. Those cycles have prevailed since the late 17th century.
Ironically, cutting population growth robs the world of future scientists. Why does that matter? Because they could devise ways to tackle real environmental problems, like pollution.
Regardless whether abortion is environmentally friendly, there is no moral basis for killing innocent human beings. Abortion slaughters a defenseless soul. It robs a child of its right to live and breathe.
Nonetheless, some people tout abortion as an aspect of “family planning.” They say it’s right for the planet. Already, many millennials are deciding not to have children because they worry about climate change. And those who embrace the Birthstrike are but a step away from embracing abortion as climate action.
It’s time to name and shame radical environmentalism’s anti-human tendencies. We must not stand idle as it captures the minds of young people.
Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Bangalore, India.